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Sir, is a carcase? A dead body; in this case a body of sin and death. The Apostle Paul, even in this state of error and delusion, abhorred this body, and he groaned being burdened therewith.
But the Apostle, although sojourning in the midst of imperfection, was taught of God, and worshipped him in spirit; and it was, therefore, that he so grievously, felt the burden of this body of sin and death ; while others who do not know God, and therefore do not worship him, are pleased with this dead body, follow iniquity with greediness, and press to their bosoms what is calculated to hide the things which belong to their peace. Indeed, Sir, this is a blessed portion of scripture, it is glad tidings of good things to all flesh; for it unequivocally points to that glorious period, when the separation shall be made, when the carcases of the men who have transgressed against God, whose worm shall not die, and whose fire shall not be quenched, when these bodies of sin and death shall be loathed and detested, shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
The spirit of God, by this evangelical prophet, has in various places testified of the grace, of the abundant grace of God; and this passage is nothing more than proclaiming, in other words, the restitution of all thing's, which has been testified of by all God's holy prophets, ever since the world began,
Mr. H. Well, this is very strange; I never saw it on this wise before !
M. The vision, my dear Sir, is for an appointed time ; if it tarry, wait for it. Is it not written, they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest ? that the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, whom to know is life eternal ? There is but one passage in the whole book of God, which I think exhibits a stronger assurance of the ultimate happiness of our nature, than those your have mentioned, which passage is to be found in the twenty-fifth chapter of the gospel by Saint Matthew, and contains a view of the general judgment, of the collecting, separating, and adjudging the whole human and fallen angelic natures, under the figures sheep
Mr. H. Sheep and goats! Why, I had reserved this as my last passage! This passage is assuredly against you.
M. God forbid. If it should, it must be against that gospel, which is proclaimed in language so glorious, so unlimited, so decisive. But, Sir, I will venture to affirm, there is not in the whole of the sacred writings, a more glorious display of grace and truth,
than that which is recorded in the conclusion of the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew.
Mr. H. You amaze me, Sir ; Can it be, that to send under the curse from his presence the greater part of human kind, is gospel ?
M. No, Sir; nor would it be gospel to send any individual of the human family into everlasting fire, for the gospel is glad tidings to every creature.
Mr. H. But, Sir, I have always conceived this passage as needing no explanation, it is so exceeding plain.
M. How great is the force of prejudice, of the prejudices of education! What, shall we in the last great day hear the only wise God our Saviour, in the presence of angels and of men, pronounce a sentence which shall render praise and glory to the God of this world ; making himself and all his holy prophets, ever since the world began, liars ? Shall he, who was made under the law to redeem those who were under it, submitting to its curse and all its severest penalties; shall he, I say, in presence of assembled worlds, prove himself so false, a witness? Will he, on that august occasion, prove that Abraham on the divine authority believed a lie? Merciful God! this is a master-stroke of him who deceived the nations; surely, no one can believe the gospel, who lends credence to a deception so gross. What a horrid view of Abraham's God, does the received opinion of this passage give! yet, times without number have I yielded credit to the testimony of man, and joined issue with those who take the crown from my Redeemer.
It is said God is unchangeable. It is confessed that the promise was made to Abraham, that in his seed, in the only wise God our Saviour, all the families of the earth should be blessed. They acknowledge that Jesus Christ prayed on the cross, saying, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. The holy scriptures assure us, that he ascended into heaven with blessings upon his lips ; and the two inen in white clothing, who stood by the disciples at his ascension, also said,
“Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you, into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven,”-But, how did he ascend into heaven? why, with blessings on his tongue ? Well, in like manner he shall descend.”
But how tremendous the contrast, as he is now described, whén seated on the throne of his glory; how greatly is he changed! Is
it possible we can recognize the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world ? Never shall I forget a sermon I once heard in London, from the greatest preacher in this line, that I ever attended. “When the Lord,” said he, “is seated on his throne, his feelings towards sinners, will be very different from those which actuated him, when on the cross; he cried, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But then, when the trembling nations shall be gathered before him, he who used to behold them with pity's softest eye, will turn upon them a countenance of fiery indignation, and then lifting his eyes to his Father, he will say, Father, God Almighty, damn them! damn them, damn them!" and every time he pronounced the word damn, his voice sounded still more and more terrible ; stamping on the floor of the pulpit, and smiting the Bible with his hands; and these sad tidings of bad things made many sad hearts, and caused much weeping and wailing, and anguish of spirit ; and this sermon was called a glorious gospel sermon, and the preacher's praise was sounded by many tongues.
Some time after my arrival in this country, a gentleman from the eastern part of Massachusetts was engaged to preach against me, when, I dare say without intending it, he preached against the Redeemer. Thus he went on:
$* In the great day of Jehovah, our Lord and Saviour will stand on a small eminence, encompassed by his little flock. At a distance from him, you will see the God of this world encompassed by an innumerable multitude: he will then look down on the Saviour, and in an attitude of insult and triumph will say, You talk of being a King! a Prince, and a Saviour! The glory of a king is in the multitude of his subjects; but where you have one subject I have a thousand : the glory of a prince is in the greatness of his authority ; but, however I may have been styled the prince of darkness, many have flocked to my standard, yielding a willing obedience to my commands. The glory of a Saviour is in the magnitude of his redemption ; but where you by your birth, your suffering, and your death, have brought home one human being, I have ensnared, captivated, and shall hold to all eternity a thousand. O, sinners, sinners! will you not this night, for the honour of your Saviour, add one more to the little flock?"
Sir, I consider this sermon,' and all sermons of this description, as blasphemy, originating, as I believe, from erroneous ideas
of the 25th of Matthew. Yet the people called Christians were very much delighted with this gospel sermon, and a zealous gospel minister declared, on leaving the meeting-house, he thought it the best gospel sermon he had ever heard in his life!
Mr. H. But, my dear Sir, what must we do with this awful passage?
M. Any thing, Sir, is better than to blaspheme the God of our salvation.
Mr. H. Is it not said, When all nations shall be gathered before him, he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats ?
M. I presume you do not suppose that one nation will be separated from another ?
Mr. H. No, Sir; some of all nations.
M. I presume you do not suppose the individuals gathered together will be real sheep and goats?
Mr. H. Certainly not, Sir; I view them as figures of the subjects of the judgment.
M. Then we are to inquire who the subjects of the judgment are?
Mr. H. We shall find no difficulty in this undertaking; they were sinners, Sir.
M. But there are two sorts of sinners.
Mr. H. Yes, I know there are some on the right hand and some on the left.
M. But there are two sorts upon the right hand, Sir, and one on the left.
Mr. H. What can you mean, Sir.
M. What I say, Sir. We are certainly informed by the teaching spirit of our God, that the angels who kept not their first estate, but fell from their own habitation, are reserved by our God, under chains of darkness, unto the judgment of the great day; and the Apostle reminds the first Christians of this, when he says, Know ye not that we shall judge angels? Yes, the angels shall be judged, and with righteous judgment. And the judge will speak to the subjects of the judgment in their proper characters; to those on the right hand he will say, Come, ye blessed of my Father, enter ye into the kingdom of my Father prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Here it should be observed, there were no after plans. The human family had a life given them in Christ Jesus, before the foundation of the world ; and of this life, given them in Christ Jesus, no event turning up in time, could ever deprive them.
But the Judge shall turn to those on his left hand, and in a voice of terror say, Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. When this deceiver was detected in Eden, after he had beguiled our general mother, the God of truth addressing the arch-fiend, said, Because thou hast done this thou art cursed. Thus, the end reverts to the beginning; every character receiveth what was prepared for every individual, and God is prova ed unchangeable. Blessed be his name, he was, and he is the sinner's friend. Yea, assuredly, what he was, he is; for in him there is neither variableness, nor shadow of turning. Herein is the love of God, not that we loved him, but that he first loved us, and gave himself for us, and this was according to the love wherewith he loved us before the world was, for he was the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.
Had this Lamb of God, who died for the sins of the world, condemned the world in this closing scene, to die for their own sin, where would have been justice, mercy, or truth? where the consistency of those attributes, which constitute the character of the one omnipotent Being ? Shall the year of jubilee be the year of bondage? Shall the conqueror of death, and him who had the power of death, be found in the close of time, conquered? Shall it, I again ask, be found that God did send all his holy prophets with a lie in their mouths? Will it be found that God did not reconcile the world unto himself, but that he did impute unto them their trespasses? that justice is not satisfied, and offenders must therefore be sent into a place of torment to make satisfaction for themselves, although this God knows they can never do, for if they could, a period being put to their sufferings, they would be saved in their own right. But we have not so learned Christ; we know, that Jesus by.one offering of himself, perfected forever the work he undertook to do.
Mr. H. Excuse me, my dear Sir, if I understand you, it is your opinion that the sheep is figurative of the human sinner, and the goat of the angelic?
M. Exactly só, Sir.